Our history

Ecoinnovation, since 1994

In 1994 the Terra Foundation was created not to be just another ecological charity, but to provide a more practical approach that would contribute to promoting a more sustainable society, respectful of the planet's natural systems.

Terra was founded by three young people from the environmental movement in Catalonia who were convinced that the environmental problem was rooted in the cultural perception of nature and our environment in general. Its activities have been inspired by the spirit that "small changes are powerful" because it is only this principle can really contribute to change society to an environmental perspective.

We are pioneers in publishing environmental content in the internet

1993 Mosaic, the first Internet browser, was released.

1995 The Terra Foundation registered the first domain for environmental information in the country: terra.es (converted in 2001 into terra.org).

Fundación Terra - nuestra historia

Today our website terra.org holds more than 2,200 pages of content and 12,000 images.

We launched the first direct solar high-volume pump

1996 We restored an old meander of the Llobregat River in Molins de Rei, Catalonia, to turn it into a natural wetland. The water supply was designed with a direct photovoltaic solar pump that drives a water flow of 100,000 litres per day. The site was opened officially by the President of the Generalitat, Hon. Jordi Pujol.

1999 Our experience with this action in a wetland area, today included in the network of wetlands of Catalonia, encouraged us to edit the first manual in the country on the restoration of riverbanks "Blue and green corridors". More than 120 species of birds visit or inhabit the Molins de Rei wetlands.

Aiguamols Molins de Rei

We are pioneers in promoting business-third sector collaboration

1998 20,0000 citizens participate to "Make a Mountain of Paper" and collect 5 tons of used paper to be converted back into paper. A paper company (StoraEnso), a well-known designer (Javier Mariscal), a newspaper (El Periódico), a television (Televisión de Cataluña TV3) and the city and Catalan Governments (Barcelona City Council and Generalitat de Catalunya) participated.


We opened a totally 'eco' office

1996 Our office in Barcelona was designed to so that the use of materials, resources and energy are minimal and also that their management is environmentally correct, with insulation on all walls, ecological cleaning and maintenance materials, and a photovoltaic roof that saves about 970kg of CO2 per year.

Central Foto oficinas Terra

We have written an environmental encyclopaedia in volumes

1995 We started to publish the sustainability education monographs "Perspectiva Ambiental" in cooperation with the Rosa Sensat Teachers Association.

2010 The 50th edition is published. The collection includes more than 2,000 illustrated pages written by people from Terra. We have distributed more than 200,000 copies of this encyclopaedia of the environment. Some of the topics discussed are unique to Perspectiva Ambiental, and are a reference in environmental publishing in Spain.

Perspectiva Ambiental

We introduced solar cooker technologies to Spain

2001 20 schools in Barcelona discover that you can cook a paella with the sun's rays.

2003 We participated in the installation of the largest Scheffler solar reflector in Europe for cooking food. In 2006 it was relocated to the terrace of the National Museum of Science and Technology of Catalonia (mNACTEC).

2006 We organized the International Solar Conference on Food Processing with more than 200 experts from all over the world. Participants’ meals were prepared with a battery of 15 parabolic solar cookers on the roof of the Palacio de Congresos, Granada.

Cuina Solar en accio

We designed and created the first domestic eco-audit

2004 More than 250 families in Barcelona benefit from an assessment of their water and energy consumption and are instructed on how to save both. The methodology we created for the analysis of energy and water consumption led us to introduce the first smart meters in Spain.

2011 More than 12,000 people participate in "The energy revolution starts at home" in collaboration with the IKEA Badalona.

ecoauditoria domestica

We carried out the first architectural thermographic analysis in buildings in Catalonia

2006 ADIGSA, a public company, commissions us to carry out the thermographic analysis of different buildings that are intended to be rehabilitated, to detect which areas of the façade lose more energy.

2007 Six municipalities in the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona participate in the TERMOCIUTATS programme. This shows that thermography applied to buildings is useful in improving eco-efficiency both for the spectacular images, and because it allows us to see when our homes are wasting energy.


We helped to implement FSC certification in publishing

2006 We created the first FSC certification standard for printing publications on chain-of-custody-accredited FSC paper. This impulse will be key for our country to create the eco-publishing seal.

2008 We participated in the organization of the first day of eco-publishing. Eco-publishing is an innovative way to manage publications according to sustainability principles. It incorporates environmental and social criteria in the printing process that minimize the negative impacts derived from this activity in all its phases.


We took the fight against climate change to the rooftops

2007 Terra opened the first citizen-participation photovoltaic plant in Spain at the Mercat del Carmel, Barcelona, so that citizens can participate in contributing to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions with sunlight. This was the first “Ona Solar” (Solar Wave), a new way to fight against climate change.

Today we reduce CO2 emissions by more than 23,000kg per annum with our two solar citizen-participation power plants.

Carmel plaquets

We manufactured the first worm composter in Spain

2002 Terra Foundation introduces homemade worm composting to manage a part of the organic fraction with a design from Tumbleweed (https://tumbleweed.com.au/) Australia, the Can-o-Worms®.

2007 In collaboration with the recycling innovation company ZICLA (https://www.zicla.com/) we promoted the design of a national worm composter with recycled plastics as raw material. The product was included in the catalogue of the Red de Consumo Reciclado (Network for Recycled Consumption).


We promoted Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour, in Spain

2008-2009 The 11th hour (https://leonardodicaprio.com/the-11th-hour/) produced by actor Leonardo DiCaprio in 2007 was never released in cinemas in Spain. Terra undertook to promote the film, accompanied by an environmental education guide. In collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation, we organised “The Campus Tour of the 11th Hour “ in 2009, screening the documentary in 20 Universities throughout Spain, and at the CCCB’s NOW festival. More than 4,000 people were able to see it, thanks to the Terra Foundation. The 11th Hour a documentary about climate change, including the views of more than 50 experts from around the globe.


We created the world's first domestic solar plug and play panel

2009 In collaboration with two solar energy companies, Terra created the world's first "plug & play" home solar appliance. Under the name of "Guerrilla Solar" (https://www.terra.org/categorias/articulos/la-hora-de-los-solardomestic…) 150 units were manufactured based on a unique concept of simplicity of installation. We applied photovoltaic technology in the domestic sphere to set a standard on the possibilities of self-consumption and thus contribute to the fight against climate change and save radioactive and toxic emissions in conventional electricity production. This programme received the European Solar Award.

Guerilla solar

We promoted urban mobility with bicycles for people with different abilities

2009 Terra collaborated with Espaibici (https://espaibici.com/, City of Barcelona Award) to investigate the possibilities of the German technological tandem Hase Pino (https://hasebikes.com/), not only for leisure but also for use with people with different abilities. In the Hase Pino tandem, the bicycle is put at the service of the experience of cyclists, offering them the best of technology: maximum visibility, and therefore safety, and maximum pedalling efficiency. The ONCE Foundation and the Gutman Institute Foundation studied the possibilities of this technological tandem promoted by the Terra Foundation.

hase pino movilidad

We built a geodesic greenhouse for urban horticulture

2012 Terra’s Life Larder (“El Rebost Vital”) is designed as a demonstrative space to produce healthy edible plants, and to show how to apply the techniques of organic farming on rooftops. The Life Larder was designed using the architecture of geodesic domes as greenhouses, with the collaboration of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. During its operation in 2012 and 2013 it was visited by 100 schools and 2,000 people.

Despensa vital

We created the world's first environmental certification standard for funeral services

2005 Terra, with Serveis Funeraris de Barcelona analyses the environmental impact of funerals.

2011 Terra develops the Ecofuneral system for funeral insurance and registers the domain ecofuneral.es. We signed an agreement with the insurance company Grupo DKV

2012 Start of the Ecofuneral.es website (https://www.ecofuneral.es/)

2013 Terra develops the SFE 07:024 (Ecological Funeral Service) certification, the first environmental certification in the world for funeral services and products. With the ecological certification of funerals, we estimate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from this sector of at least 30% avoiding the emission of dioxins into the atmosphere. This initiative offers a funeral service with certified ecological options for the management of the resources used: coffins made from certified wood, incineration without heavy metals, biodegradable urns, etc.

Today Ecofuneral.es offers articles, ideas, answers and reviews of films and books of interest to the more than 190,000 unique users of our website https://www.ecofuneral.es/.


Changes in the Organization

After many years of activity in which both the team and the Board of the foundation had given everything – work, skills, time and dedication – to the cause, the staff moved on to other organisations and other lives, and at the end of 2017 the foundation was left without paid staff. Between 2018-2021 the foundation – while maintaining its projects at the Solar Wave (Ona Solar) in Barcelona and Madrid, and its project of ecological funerals, https://www.ecofuneral.es/ – did not create any new projects.

In 2020, a new Board of Trustees was formed, led by Dr. Javier Retana, Professor of Ecology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, as president. In keeping with Terra’s history, and the founders’ ideas – a practical approach that will contribute to promoting a more sustainable society – the new Board is focused on science and practical solutions to the climate emergency and is developing new projects and activities in these areas for the Terra Foundation.

Years of commitment

Terra is here today thanks to the commitment of the people and entities that have believed in the work of the foundation. Dozens of companies and public entities and thousands of people have joined us over the years in promoting practical ecology to find solutions to the climate emergency. Without their presence, dedication, and participation we would not be offering this legacy. Beyond the merits and failures of our work there is only one condition that survives time: gratitude to all the people and organisations that accompany us.

Terra Team

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